A friend of mine introduced me to Ginny Owens’ music many years ago. Owens is a popular Christian artist based in Nashville whose music has a way of gently massaging away your hurt and softening your heart so that you’re able to pick up the pieces of your shattered world and accept your new normal.
I was reminded of Ginny’s lyrics today as I visited my doctor’s office and saw some patients who were living through some very dark times — times that I lived through, struggled through, and made it through. Something inside me beckoned me to offer encouragement and hope that their lives would get better in time. The worst possible outcome would be rejection, but I was willing to risk it as Ginny’s lyrics echoed in my head and tugged at my heart and compelled me to testify.
And when I cross over Jordan, I’m gonna scream. I’m gonna shout! -Ginny Owens
My dark days were filled with excruciating pain, weight loss, loss of friends, and isolation. Surgery, grief, a new normal, questions, judgement, and depression also visited on those dark days. The only silver lining in it all was waking up each day to endure the pain again — knowing that one day, I would praise God for clearing a pathway for me, and he certainly did.
I remember calling my favorite teacher the day she took her last breath and succumbed to lung cancer. It was the most difficult call I’ve ever made. Saying good-bye and saying I love you. I remember Lee saying, If he did it for me, he’ll surely do it for you. She knew I had struggled for years with Crohn’s Disease, but she had also seen me achieve great things despite the struggle. She knew her time here was short, but in that moment, she encouraged me, and I’ll never forget it.
When given the opportunity to break the awkward silence in my doctor’s office today, I ministered to a young woman adjusting to her new normal. She was experiencing what I described earlier as dark days. My message was simple: It gets better. Just stay the course and pray. If you can’t do it, I’ll pray for you. I don’t know whether she was a believer or not, but she heard me. I’m a living testimony that we all have to go through the valley, but we don’t have to take up residency there. One day you will cross over Jordan — be healed from anything that afflicts you, break free from the shackles of depression and anxiety, find purpose in the ruins you once called the perfect life, and live. You must live. As long as there is air in your lungs and strength in your limbs, give thanks for that. As long as your mind is sound and you are free to live your life as you choose, give thanks for that. As long as your heart is beating, ask God to transform it. Before long, you won’t even recognize the person you’ve become. God never promised that all your days would be good ones and that people would treat you right, but he promised never to leave you. He even goes before you in all that you do.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~Proverbs 18:24
I take comfort in knowing that when I am in the valley, I’m not alone. I also know that I am not the greatest sufferer. If you’re having a Woe Is Me Day, visit a nursing home or hospital. Volunteer at a burn center or a homeless shelter. Sometimes seeing the fragility of life first hand can help you put things in perspective. Praise God for cleaning house, removing doubt, replacing it with hope, and ridding your life of toxic people. As you cross Jordan, all you’ll need is your number one Companion.
Note – Response to The Daily Post’s One-Word Prompt — Companion